Ex Nihilo by Deefective
[We Could Build A Mansion]

Seven months ago, I jumped off my roof.
Fell for eighteen years before I hit the driveway like a bag of second-hand soul. Mom wasn't home, Dad was at work and no one saw me fly.
I was Jonathan Briley, beautiful Falling Man and it was heartbreaking, I swear.

I think I laid there for almost an hour, face melting into the concrete like toxic waste and ice cream. I wanted to be ice cream.
Then Will walked by and spotted me, crying out my pesky heart from a crack in the back of my skull.

I sometimes remember the look on his face when he ran up and caught me smiling.
I want to paint it someday. Make him untitled (William skull) or something.

"What the...
Day? Day?!
Shit. Oh, man. Fuck.
Oh, God! You're bleeding!
There's so mu-...oh, FUCK!
Day?! Day?!
Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God..."


Words get lost all the time. And by then I had already sent mine away.
I was drifting, blinking through a red kaleidoscope as the horizon darkened around me, a pretty mess of one nasty picture.

I dreamed of sirens and tunnels of light that evening and kept dreaming for what felt like death before I woke up from the coma a week later.
IVs in my veins and yellow wallpapered ceiling, I only remember an empty hospital room and feeling like the worst fucking joke in the world.

The sun is still,
wind; asleep,
and the trees are never paying attention.
There's a foreign muscle hammering its way into my inner ear,
tossing the scene around me out to the periphery of alignment.
I'm right on the edge, looking down,
and the only thing I can excavate from this
dead pounding rock hiding beneath my ribs is a
sigh, a mumbled sum of the rot of my life;

They never asked me any question, my parents. Not real ones, anyway.
Statistically speaking, I had become one of a whole nation. Just another listless empty shell looking to die, just another everyman.
The numbers have been climbing since 2030 and we're a nation of fashionable conformists.

"Day?" My mom has a voice like yellow onion.
The kind that makes you wanna cry when you peel back the layers but you know it's not real tears, it'll never be real tears.
I remember her looking at me, peeling herself back, making herself cry.

"Is there anything you want to tell us about...all this? Anything you want to talk about?" she asked, her hand not reaching for mine, cold on blue hospital sheets.

I scratched my nose and shook my head. "Nope."
She looked at my dad, sitting beside her. The Cinderblock Man, he was staring at a wall. But then she coughed and he dropped his eyes.

"You sure about that, son?" My dad has a voice like cheese and yogurt; a rotting, over processed cliché.

"Yep," I replied.
A murmur. A sigh.
And that was that.

My toes finger The End and she's titillated,
the slut.
She's fully enjoying this moment of
lacking suspense and greying flat lines.
And I can't feel it, this world,
this awful apathetic existence.
But it's seeping into and from my bones,
painting the sky white, fading the scene.
And I'm stepping forward. I'm tipping slowly.

Will never asked me any questions, either. He came to visit for the first time two days before I was supposed to be discharged.
I remember him settling into the chair a few feet from my hospital bed and Ruddman pacing restlessly even farther behind him.

"Like, what the fuck, man? What the fuck...? Like...what the fuck, man?"

Eventually he stopped moving, quieted down and they both stared at me.
We didn't say a word. I wouldn't. They couldn't. We were,

Brown hair, brown eyes. Red hair, blue eyes.
Statues of the people I called my friends. But maybe they were the real thing, I don't know anymore.
You never know anything anymore, really.

And so we sat and stared and laid and lied; noiseless. But I learned something that day.
I learned that pain does have a name and a face.
It's in the mirror and on the breeze. It's in the silence and it's screaming at me.
It's in those blue and brown eyes.
Those goddamn blue and brown eyes.

I am 270 degrees and the skyline is twisting,
swirling into a monochromatic rainbow.
And I realize (realizing)
as my blood refuses to pump and my head refuses to spin,
and as all of me refuses to give the slightest damn,
I realize (once again realizing),
that there is nothing, I am nothing.
It is all nothing.

And so I'm falling, I'm falling.
I fall.

We stopped talking about the trips a while ago, after it started becoming too personal, too real, too much of us.
But if they ever asked, I wouldn't lie.

I just don't know how I'd tell them.

And Time's up.
Deep breath in and I reluctantly break the surface as my senses tingle back to me.
Exhale, exhale,
and my heart starts beating again.
I already know where I am, lying on my bed in between Will and Ruddman but they're still under.
I can hear their slight breaths in my ears, barely there, barely here, but still breathing. And I'm the first one to snap out of it. Again.

I've always been first, no matter how much I take or how hard I try. I can never stay under for longer than them.
I asked Thales about it once and he just shrugged.

"You're the hero, man, you're the hero," he said and laughed.

Sighing, I sit up slowly and rub my eyes open. Lights off, my room is filled with the night and if I didn't know better, I'd think I wasn't really back yet.
But I can still bleed. So I get up and make my way to the bathroom.

Chaos does this thing, see, it turns your eyes black.
It's there the whole time you're under and for a few minutes after you come back.
Your vision gets all funky and it's like the world gets put on SDTV for a bit. It feels good, really good but just like all good things, it doesn't last long.
It's kinda cool, kinda scary and probably symbolic but it's not the point, so everyone just brushes it off.

I'm looking at myself in a square mirror under incandescent lights, black hair all shagged up and eyes swimming in ash.
I've got bags and hollows and chapped, dry lips but I still can't see a soul beneath it all.
Depressing? I couldn't tell you for sure. But I like the way it makes me feel dead and reckless inside. Like I could be a monster; a real psychopathic kinda crazy.

I run a hand through my hair and shut off the lights.

Half an hour later, phone in hand, I'm texting for some pizza when I hear footsteps. Looking up, I see my friends coming down the stairs.

"Yo!" Will's eyes are already fading back to brown but he's got a smile on his face that I can't help but return. He nods at me.

"Where're your parents? Still not home?" Ruddman asks, walking over to the fridge on my left. His eyes are still black, framed with dark circles that stand out against his freckles.
He always looks so tired after.

I shrug as he rummages around for something to drink and glance at my iWatch. It's 3:21am.
Finishing the order, Ruddman grabs some Cola and we all head to the living room.
The television turns itself on as we settle onto the couch and Ruddman passes me a Coke. Boss Man is on again.

"Dude," he tells me. "You know who you look like?"

And I'm already rolling my eyes because I've heard this one before.

"Eric Bailey," he says and Will snickers beside me.

"No, seriously! You look like Eric fucking Bailey! That disturbing lifeless thing you got going on with your eyes. Makes me think you can snap my neck in two and fuck my mother in the next second. You're the Roman Butcher, man."

"Thought you were the lunatic, Ruddman." My eyes are so far back in my head, I could go blind. But he goes on.

"He wasn't a lunatic! He was the greatest human being to ever walk the earth."

"Being a mass murdering terrorist doesn't make you a great human being," Will sighs. "And idolizing one doesn't make you fucking cool, dude. You're being an idiot."

"I'm not fucking cool, Will. And he wasn't a terrorist! He was...he was God."

"And what exactly made him so God-ly? All he did was kill a whole lot of people for no real reason."

"Yeah, but you see, right there. That's his genius. He was a dying man, former hero. One cancer ridden homicidal corpse to go, right? But still, one man that he was, he singlehandedly scared the shit out of everyone. He got into the heads of every single person in this country, had them pulling hair, screaming in their sleep and he never even left the state! You saw the footage of that news broadcast he interrupted? He was free, man, he was so fucking free! It's been like 60 years, ancient history, and no one just was like he just was. Nothing to lose, nothing to gain. He did whatever the fuck he wanted to!" He's in a frenzy now, flailing arms and kicking dust. But Will isn't having it.

"A lot of other serial killers do whatever the fuck they want to. That's why they kill people. They're 'free' too. Free and fucking crazy."

"Not like Eric Bailey. No one's ever been free like Bailey."

"Shut up, man."

"And you want to know what made him even more of a genius? What made him the fucking Alpha and Omega? What made him God?"


He smiles.

"Do you know who Eric Bailey is?"

Ruddman laughs this maniacal throaty laugh and Will just shakes his head. I smile because we're a gang of nutty philosophers and Ruddman is just too fucking cool sometimes.

"Dude." It's Will this time. I turn to him and he's looking at me funny. "How long have you been up for?

"I dunno, maybe an hour. Why?"

"Why're your eyes still like that?"

"Like what?"

He frowns. I turn to Ruddman. His are almost completely back to normal, the thinnest film of grey still lingering over his irises.

"Whoa!" he exclaims, eyebrows rising. "Are you okay? Where are your eyes?"

"What're you talking about? I feel fine." But actually, now I don't.

There's this...feeling, see. It could happen once in your life or a few times or never at all if you're a lucky bastard.
Ask any junker and they'll tell you about their first time.
The way the world freezes for a millisecond and in that moment, you've calculated the meaning of time and space.
Your heart's racing right up your throat yet still stuck in mid beat while this sickly, slimy smoke starts crawling all over your skin,
invading your pores and clinging to your veins.
You can't shake it, can't brush it off because shit just got real and your lungs are on fire.
You start thinking about all the things you could be doing with your life and all the opportunities you could take.
It doesn't even have to make sense because you should be a CEO right now,
eighteen year old president of the next street corner company but instead you're here, doing goddamn drugs.
Regret slithers into your nostrils and you're just a sorry excuse for a human being.

This is all in a millisecond, just a fraction of the time you never have anymore but it's enough.
Here comes the bad trip.

I get up and race up the stairs to the bathroom. I hear my friends follow behind me.

"How much did you take?" Ruddman's asking but I'm not listening.
I'm staring at this black-eyed maybe-monster in the mirror who keeps looking back at me, his hands passing slowly in front of his eyes.
Will pops up on my right side and Ruddman moves in beside him.

"Don't stress, man. It's nothing," Ruddman mutters, his eyes fixed to my reflection.

"It'll go away. Just give it some time. It always goes away," Will adds, he's staring at me too.

I run a hand through my hair and lean in closer.

"Just give it some time," Will repeats. "Just give it some time."

An hour passes.
Will's mumbling to himself, looking away and Ruddman's shaking his head.

"Well, fuck me..." I'm blinking from inky sockets.

"Dude," Ruddman whispers. "You look scary, man. You're freaking me out, man."

I hear the front door unlock and I am Eric fucking Bailey.

A/N: Bah. I'm sorry this took so damn long. There was an incident involving a USB key and my life being deleted but I'm, ahem, over that.
And yeah, that's the pot brewing at the end there. SUSPENSE. DRAMA. STORY, right?!

And just a P.S: Jake, honey, how'd I do?

Also, to everyone else, if you're reading this, go read 'I Am Become Death' by Charactarantula right naaaaow.